D. Gukesh punished Switzerland’s Pawel Teclaf for an error of judgement on the 21st move and went to clinch a decisive victory in the first-round rapid tiebreaker of the chess World Cup in Sochi, Russia, on Wednesday.
In the second rapid game, Gukesh easily got a draw in just 34 moves for a 1.5-0.5 triumph and set up a second-round meeting with Russia’s Daniil Dubov.
Effectively, the event will come to life on Thursday when World champion Magnus Carlsen begins his campaign along with 49 others seeded players.
P. Harikrishna and Vidit Gujrathi, seeded 11 and 13, promise to give India its best performer in the competition since 2002 when Viswanthan Anand won his second World Cup.
Unlike Harikrishna and Vidit, the other Indians — B. Adhiban, Aravindh Chithambaram, Nihal Sarin, R. Praggnanandhaa, Gukesh and P. Iniyan take on higher-rated rivals.
In the women’s section, sixth seed D. Harika joins the fray along with 24 other seeds in the second round. While Harika is expected to advance past Indonesia’s Medina Warda Aulia, the trio of Padmini Rout, Bhakti Kulkarni and R. Vaishali run into much higher-rated seeded rivals.
The results (first round: tie-breaker): Rapid (Game One): Pawel Teclaf (Pol) lost to D. Gukesh; (Game Two): Gukesh drew with Teclaf (Gukesh wins 1.5-0.5)